February 15, 2013 in Nation/World

In brief: Checking on refunds overwhelming IRS

From Wire Reports
 

WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service has a message for taxpayers eager to learn the status of their tax refund: Please don’t check the IRS website every five minutes – once a day is enough.

The IRS says its “Where’s my refund?” website and smartphone app are being overwhelmed by eager taxpayers. The agency says its systems are only updated once a day, usually overnight, and the same information is available on the website, the IRS2go smartphone app and IRS toll-free phone lines.

The IRS provides three updates: when the tax return is received, when the refund is approved and when the refund is sent. To avoid delays, the agency says the best time to check on refunds is evenings and weekends.

Rig owner pleads to misdemeanor charge

Transocean Deepwater Inc., an oil drilling company, formally pleaded guilty on Thursday to a misdemeanor charge and will pay $400 million in criminal penalties, the latest action in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo in New Orleans accepted the guilty plea to violating the Clean Water Act plea and imposed sentence, the Justice Department announced Thursday. Transocean agreed last month to plead guilty to the misdemeanor charge and to pay $1 billion in civil penalties along with the criminal penalty. Another judge will decide whether to accept the civil penalty portion.

The penalties totaling $1.4 billion represent the second-largest recovery in an environmental case, following the $4 billion criminal sentence imposed on BP Exploration and Production Inc. in connection with the same oil spill, the Justice Department said.

Transocean owned the drilling rig Deepwater Horizon, which exploded on April 20, 2010, and sank over BP’s Macondo well. Eleven workers were killed.

The explosion also led to the nation’s worst environmental disaster. The well spilled an estimated 4.9 million barrels in the Gulf before it was capped July 15, 2010. The well was declared sealed two months after that.

Still pending is the civil phase against BP.

Motrin suit settled for $63 million

BOSTON – Health care company Johnson & Johnson has been told to pay a Massachusetts teenager and her parents $63 million after she suffered a life-threatening drug reaction and lost most of her skin when she took a children’s pain reliever nearly a decade ago.

A Plymouth Superior Court jury Wednesday decided Johnson & Johnson and its McNeil-PPC Inc. subsidiary should pay Samantha Reckis and her parents a total of $109 million, including interest.

Family attorney Brad Henry said Samantha was 7 when she was given Motrin brand ibuprofen. She suffered a rare side effect known as toxic epidermal necrolysis and lost 90 percent of her skin and was blinded.

Airbus 350 won’t use lithium-ion batteries

NEW YORK – Airbus is dropping lithium-ion batteries from its new A350 airplane because of uncertainty surrounding the technology that has led to the grounding of Boeing’s 787.

The European planemaker said late Thursday that it has decided to revert to nickel-cadmium batteries for the A350. The plane is a wide-body jet rival to the 787 and is expected to make its first flight around the middle of the year.

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